Many consider Claude Vivier (1948-83) the greatest composer Canada has yet produced. Gyorgy Ligeti once called him ‘the finest French composer of his generation.’ A pupil under Gilles Tremblay and Karlheinz Stockhausen, he soon created his own dazzling vocal and orchestral language, profoundly marked by his travels to the Far East. The interweaving of his personal and professional life, of the real and the imaginary, reveals a compelling global awareness, deep human compassion and a universal quest for ultimate enlightenment. Vivier himself pursued this journey of discovery, until his tragic murder in Paris at the age of 34.
The two parts of Reves d’un Marco Polo are like shadow and light, forming a dreamlike ritualistic experience and encompassing stage productions of his finest compositions. Pierre Audi’s superb and moving staging is complemented by refined, passionate musical direction from Reinbert de Leeuw, leading the soloists, the Asko Ensemble and the Schonberg Ensemble to great heights. Also included is a spellbinding and insightful documentary on the life and work of Claude Vivier.